HealthDay News — Screening for substance use disorders and the safe use of stimulant medications are important issues in the care of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to research published in Pediatrics.

Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH, and colleagues on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse issued a clinical report on ADHD and substance abuse.

Compared with their peers, children with ADHD are at increased risk of concurrent substance use disorders (SUDs), the researchers found.

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Treating ADHD with stimulant medications may reduce the risk of SUDs. However, clinicians should be aware that individuals with ADHD, in addition to abusing other substances, may misuse, abuse, and/or divert stimulant medication.

Clinicians should screen for SUDs in patients with ADHD and follow guidance for appropriate and safe use of stimulant medications.

“Longer acting preparations of stimulant medication, the prodrug formulation of dextroamphetamine, and nonstimulant medications for ADHD all have lower abuse potential than short-acting preparations of stimulant medication and, thus, their use should be strongly considered if there is a high risk of misuse, diversion, or abuse of stimulant medications,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Harstad E, Levy S. Pediatrics. 2014; doi:10.1542/peds.2014-0992.